Pontiac made DDG is the family man made rapper who is about to become your new favorite artist. He blew up with his song Big Boat, a diss track to Lil Yachty that caused DDG to become a well known name with Lil Yachty fans and rap enthusiasts in general- now he is releasing his first album. Inked spoke to DDG, also known as Darryl Granberry, to get the scoop on his latest tour, Youtube channel, and album drop for Valedictorian that he promises "Might send me to jail."
Originally working at TJ Maxx, what was the initial push to start your YouTube channel?
I was just doing it just for fun and my friends liked it, so I kept doing it and then it just started blowing up and everybody started catching onto it and then I realized you can make money from it. So that was another motivating factor. That's how I quit TJ Maxx. I quit my job and I only got like $200 from the check (from YouTube), but I quit after that and I just kept doing it.
Do you remember what video really took off first?The one where you were like, Oh shit- this is the video.
My first viral video was a reaction video. So I reacted to some K-Pop. It was like some Korean dudes rapping, but they sounded hard. You probably heard it before. It went viral. It was viral like back when Vine was big and stuff like that. I went from 500 subscribers to like 15,000 in a day.
What do you think made that video the one that people were like, oh shit he’s doing something?
The song was pretty hard. And then (the group) reposted it and everything took off from there.
So on top of that, what video have you made that's your favorite video?
I- to be honest with you- I couldn't tell you, I literally made over 2000 videos already. So I have a lot of videos. I couldn't pinpoint one, honestly. I would just say all of them.
So how has YouTube contributed to your success with music and how do you see the platform fitting into your future career in music?
YouTube got all my eyeballs- it gave me the audience to transition (into music). The only thing with that is, it's hard to transition from YouTube to music because people don't take you serious. But I broke that barrier, so it worked in my favor.
And are you going to keep doing YouTube? Do you see yourself always doing YouTube or do you ever see yourself phasing that out?
I'm gonna keep doing Youtube. I'm gonna try to keep doing YouTube long as I can.
Now, what was your first tattoo?
My first tattoo is a scroll on my arm of all my family’s names on it.
And what are all their names?
Tonya, which is my mom, Darryl is my dad- I'm a junior by the way. My little sister Tiara, and my brothers Darion and Dajaun and yeah that’s it.
And how old were you when you got it?
Oh I was 18, and that was the first one.
So what are your other tattoos?
I got a neck tattoo right here that says DDG. I got a tattoo on my right arm- that's my birthday in roman numerals. I got a tattoo on my chest with Philippians 4:13. I have two hand tats, one on my left hand, one on my right- one of them says “one life” and one is a rose, for balance. And the next one next to that is “tomorrow is never promised.” It's like roses stand for balance- you got one life balancing, you know.
So you are very obviously centered around your family. How did they react to you getting tattoos? Were they down? Were they okay with it?
They were down, it was cool.
When did you start rapping? When did you really get into music and then how did you start getting into music from YouTube?
I mean, I was doing like diss tracks on YouTube just for fun, but it was hitting like 10 million views- a lot of views. And I was like, okay, maybe I should do music for real. So then I dropped my first song (Take Me Seriously), I got a feature with Famous Dex, and I did that and it just went up and then World Star started posting me after that.
And have you always been into music ever since you were really young?
Yeah, my dad used to have a studio in the basement. Me and my brothers used to make songs and stuff.
That's so cute, I'd love to see video of that! So who are some of your favorite artists?
Favorite artists? Got to be Drake.
Any other ones?
Like back in the day 50 Cent. I like a few artists coming out of Atlanta.
Could you tell us a little bit about your diss track to Lil Yachty?
That was really just a play. He did a remix of Tay K’s The Race and he said DDG in the song. So I acted like he said my name and then he actually tweeted and was like, I don't even know who DDG is. So I was like BET- now I gotta make a diss track, but I chopped it up with them. It was all fun.
That's pretty genius in terms of business moves. Obviously it paid off because now you're signed to Epic Records. What's that been like?
It's been dope. I'm enjoying the whole experience.
Is it surreal to see your name with like some of the other artists who are there?
Yeah. But sometimes it really just be a blur. I just be tunnel visioned, just moving up.
Kendall Jenner did an ad to your song, was that exciting? That must've been something else. How did you find out?
Oh I didn't even know, honestly. It just happened. I was at home just chilling and then saw it like “Oh shit that’s my song!”
What could you tell us about touring, you recently went on tour, what was that like? What was your favorite memory, your favorite experience?
I like to tour a lot. My favorite experience I would have to say ever- I went to London and I went to the Reading and Leads festival and when I went in there- cause they gave me a bad time, they gave me like two o'clock- and when I looked (at the audience) I went “damn ain’t nobody here,” literally like three people (were sitting out there). And then when I came out (to play), literally there were like 3000 people.
Who is your dream collab?
Drake for sure. Little bit of Cardi B, all the GOATS.
I'm ready for that Cardi B collab. What can we expect to see from you next in terms of music?
Just my album drops November 1st, so I'm excited for that. All the songs are good. Versatility- you guys will be seeing (versatility) on there. Rap, pop music, even got singing on there. It's a big mix.
Your favorite song from Valedictorian, if you had to pick?
If I had to pick a favorite song, I would say Almost. It's the first song.
How are you celebrating your album drop?
Time Square- I’m doing a meet and greet. I’m telling you right now, it's going to be shut down. Like I might go to jail.
We'll bail you out, we'll come visit you.
Yeah, it's going to be lit and my billboard going to be up. So yeah, like my face is going to be big in New York. My first (billboard).
How do you feel about the face tattoo with the SoundCloud rapper situation then?
I know everybody feels stupid now because the wave is over. Nobody getting face tats anymore.